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Thursday 24 September 2009

Cape Wrath, NW Scotland

During my holiday last week (which now seems a dim memory -sigh) I visited Cape Wrath. Apparently the name of the area is derived from the Norse word for "turning point" as it was the place where Norse seafarers would turn their boats to head for home.

We travelled over the Kyle of Durness on the "ferry" - which as you can see in this picture is a *very* wee boat. Yes it's the little boat reflected in the water....... But as you can see it was a glorious day. In fact we were in tee-shirts and borrowing sunscreen on the boat over. Fortunately there were no midges around.

The boat journey takes about 10 minutes and then visitors can get a mini-bus out to the lighthouse. However the road is very rough and I'd been warned that the ride was "bouncy". I didn't fancy having my bones shaken for an hour (30 mins each way) so we opted to walk up the track a while and stopped and had a picnic. It was so tranquil and beautiful. So it was rather ironic to find that Cape Wrath is owned by the military and used for "exercises" including bombing! Though obviously the area is closed and has check-points so tourists don't innocently wander into the area. Not sure how that works with the wild-life, but given a Golden Eagle was spotted by the tourist party the system works OK!

On the headland is a lighthouse designed by the engineer Robert Stevenson, brother of Alan Stevenson who designed the lighthouses on Graemsay (both were nephews of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author). The cliffs on Cape Wrath are the highest in the UK - up to 900 feet drop - though I didn't get to see those.

Above is the Kyle of Durness. We think the brownish water near the shore is the result of peaty water from the burns flowing into the Kyle (estuary).

Heather edging the burn on Cape Wrath

The Kyle at low water
e name of the headland derives, not from thestory waters of the area but from the Norse word for a turning point, for here the Norsemen turned their ships to head for home.
A dragon fly joined us for part of our journey


  1. Dear Sian , didn't know that it is so beautiful up there until I started to read your blog first thing in the office every morning !! Thanks a lot for lighting up my day :-)
    Andreas from Vienna/Austria

  2. Welcome to the North Andreas! Glad you are enjoying the blog. Scotland and Orkney are certainly beautiful places.

  3. Your holiday sounds wonderful, Sian & as always the photographs are stunning. I have travelled the North & West coasts of Scotland but never stayed in the Durness area. I would love to drive this route at a leisurely pace, staying at B&B's and then sail to Orkney.Trouble is that this would probably take a very large chunk of my annual leave. Still, it's yet more food for thought..... .
    Talking about food - Oooooooooohh, the chocolate! The photo of your "stash" is so tempting, particularly when enlarged!
    Brilliant sunshine here in Yorkshire, so the garden/jungle beckons. Jo

  4. Your photos are absolutely stunning, Sian.